Postal Service retirement


Q.  My husband did eight years active duty in the Navy, and another 12 in the Navy Reserve. He also has 30-plus years with the U.S. Postal Service (under the civil service retirement plan).  He has also bought back eight years of his military time.  How will his retirement work with two civil service retirements?  He is eligible to retire from the Post Office now and to collect from his military at 59 1/2 years of age (in another 4 1/2 years).  Will there be some type of offset or can he collect both retirements with full benefits? He has paid very little into the Social Security fund.  When we get our Social Security benefits summary each year, it says he would receive approximately $400 a month.

A.  He won’t have two civil service retirements. He’ll receive a full civilian retirement benefit and a full military reserve retirement benefit. However, because he’ll be receiving an annuity from CSRS, a retirement system where he didn’t contribute to Social Security, his Social Security benefit will be reduced – but not eliminated – because of the windfall elimination provision of law.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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